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    Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York City U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that President Donald Trump respects American troops and veterans after a magazine report said Trump had called fallen U.S. military personnel buried in Europe “losers” and declined to visit an American cemetery because he thought it unimportant. “President Trump has the highest respect and admiration for our nation’s military members, veterans and families. That is why he has fought for greater pay and more funding for our armed forces,” Esper said in a statement. Trump on Thursday strongly denied the report from The Atlantic magazine. The Atlantic reported that Trump, a Republican running for re-election who has touted his record helping U.S. veterans, had referred to Marines buried in an American cemetery near Paris as “losers” and declined to visit in 2018 because...
    Reuters September 5, 2020 0 Comments U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that President Donald Trump respects American troops and veterans after a magazine report said Trump had called fallen U.S. military personnel buried in Europe “losers” and declined to visit an American cemetery because he thought it unimportant. “President Trump has the highest respect and admiration for our nation’s military members, veterans and families. That is why he has fought for greater pay and more funding for our armed forces,” Esper said in a statement. Trump on Thursday strongly denied the report from the Atlantic magazine. The Atlantic reported that Trump, a Republican running for re-election who has touted his record helping U.S. veterans, had referred to Marines buried in an American cemetery near Paris as “losers” and declined to visit in 2018 because of concern the rain that day would mess up his hair. The Atlantic...
    By LORNE COOK, Associated Press BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday sought to reassure allies at NATO that Washington will consult them on any future troop movements, after President Donald Trump surprised partners at the military alliance by announcing the withdrawal of thousands of personnel from Germany. At a time when videoconferencing has become the norm due to the coronavirus, Esper paid a short in-person visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, a week after several allied defense ministers expressed concern about the unpredictability of U.S. troop plans in Europe and amid a draw down in Afghanistan. “I welcome that the U.S. is consulting with allies, while making clear that the U.S. commitment to European security remains strong,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a joint video statement before holding talks with Esper. Both men arrived at their lecterns wearing face masks. Media are not generally permitted...
    BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday sought to reassure allies at NATO that Washington will consult them on any future troop movements, after President Donald Trump surprised partners at the military alliance by announcing the withdrawal of thousands of personnel from Germany. At a time when videoconferencing has become the norm due to the coronavirus, Esper paid a short in-person visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, a week after several allied defense ministers expressed concern about the unpredictability of U.S. troop plans in Europe and amid a draw down in Afghanistan. “I welcome that the U.S. is consulting with allies, while making clear that the U.S. commitment to European security remains strong,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a joint video statement before holding talks with Esper. Both men arrived at their lecterns wearing face masks. Media are not generally permitted to enter NATO headquarters because...
    Meaghan Ellis June 18, 2020 0 Comments Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper is announcing a new U.S. Military group being formed to conduct internal reviews of diversity. During a video message shared via Twitter, Esper unveiled three new initiatives geared toward a “reinvigorated effort” to expand racial diversity and equal opportunities in the U.S. Military. According to Esper, the first step centers on the “Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion in the Military.” This diverse group will “conduct a six-month sprint to develop concrete, actionable recommendations to increase racial diversity and ensure equal opportunity across all ranks, and especially in the officer corps.” The results of their findings and recommendations will be produced in December. Esper also said he would establish a Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion in the Armed Services which will “mirror” the work of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services....
    By DARLENE SUPERVILLE WEST POINT. N.Y. (AP) — As the nation struggles to confront its complicated racial legacy, President Donald Trump preached unity to West Point graduates and told them never to forget the legacy of soldiers from generations ago who fought “a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery.’ His appeal to reconciliation and remembrance came at a time when his own relationship with the military is under strain, and the commander in chief and Pentagon leaders have faced unrelenting criticism over their response to the protests that overwhelmed the country after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Trump appeared to allude to those tensions as he addressed more than 1,100 graduates at an unusual outdoor ceremony held during a global pandemic. “What has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment,” Trump said. “When times are turbulent, when...
    By DARLENE SUPERVILLE WEST POINT. N.Y. (AP) — As the nation struggles to confront its complicated racial legacy, President Donald Trump preached unity to West Point graduates and told them never to forget the legacy of soldiers from generations ago who fought “a bloody war to extinguish the evil of slavery.’ His appeal to reconciliation and remembrance came at a time when his own relationship with the military is under strain, and the commander in chief and Pentagon leaders have faced unrelenting criticism over their response to the protests that overwhelmed the country after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Trump appeared to allude to those tensions as he addressed more than 1,100 graduates at an unusual outdoor ceremony held during a global pandemic. “What has historically made America unique is the durability of its institutions against the passions and prejudices of the moment,” Trump said. “When times are turbulent, when...
    Washington (CNN)Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley did not give the White House a heads up before he released a recorded a video on Thursday admitting it was a "mistake" to appear in a photo-op last week with President Donald Trump, two administration officials told CNN.Milley's apology -- in which he declared unequivocally "I should not have been there" -- was a remarkable admission for the four-star general, let alone from a top official in an administration led by a President known for his refusal to apologize. Before coming to his decision, Milley reached out to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. and other senior military officers, according to two US defense officials. Milley also reached out to another former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, another source familiar with the matter said.The pre-recorded address was another sign of the strain that's emerged...
    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Attorney General Willian Barr, on the heels of an executive order from President Trump, announced Thursday that the U.S. will authorize economic sanctions against members of the International Criminal Court who improperly target U.S. officials and American allies. The order follows a recent ICC decision to allow an investigation into U.S. personnel in Afghanistan for alleged war crimes. INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO INVESTIGATE US FOR ALLEGED WAR CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN “We cannot and will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court,” Pompeo said. At the time that investigation was announced, Pompeo said the court was under the influence of "misinformation" and accused them of acting "recklessly." Pompeo warned allies that they could be next, referencing a threatened ICC investigation into Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “It’s clear the ICC is...
    President Trump wanted to fire Mark Esper last week after the defense secretary balked at the commander in chief’s plan to use active-duty military personnel to quell civilian unrest, a report said Tuesday. Officials told The Wall Street Journal that Trump was furious with Esper for not backing his idea to use US troops to thwart protests in Washington, D.C., Minnesota and elsewhere following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Trump consulted advisers to ask about firing Esper, his fourth defense secretary since taking office, according to the unnamed officials. But the advisers warned him against the move, and Trump shelved the plans to immediately fire Esper, the paper reported. Esper, aware of Trump’s anger, was making his own plans to resign over his differences regarding the role of the military in civilian affairs, the officials said. He started writing a resignation letter before he was...
    As tensions boiled over and into public view last week, President Donald Trump prepared to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. Esper drew attention to himself last Wednesday when he said at a Pentagon news conference he did not think the ongoing protests in response to George Floyd’s killing demanded a military response. Trump had urged states in the previous days to “dominate” the streets in order to suppress the protests and some of the lawbreaking that accompanied them, and he offered to send in the military to help them. The Defense secretary had not cleared his dissenting statement with the White House, the report said, an omission that stunned officials. Esper’s sharp, public break with the president made many observers speculate that his head may be next on the chopping block. And Trump considered it, the Journal reported: The president consulted several advisers...
    WASHINGTON -- Tensions between the White House and Pentagon have stretched to near a breaking point over President Donald Trump's threat to use military force against street protests triggered by George Floyd's death.Friction in this relationship, historically, is not unusual. But in recent days, and for the second time in Trump's term, it has raised a prospect of high-level resignations and the risk of lasting damage to the military's reputation.Calm may return, both in the crisis over Floyd's death and in Pentagon leaders' angst over Trump's threats to use federal troops to put down protesters. But it could leave a residue of resentment and unease about this president's approach to the military, whose leaders welcome his push for bigger budgets but chafe at being seen as political tools.The nub of the problem is that Trump sees no constraint on his authority to use what he calls the "unlimited power" of...
    (CNN)Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has ordered the remainder of active duty troops who were brought to the Washington, DC, area to return to their home base of Fort Drum in New York, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Friday.CNN reported on Thursday that about 700 of the 1,600 active duty troops who were brought to the Washington area were returning to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.A small active duty of the "Old Guard" based in Arlington, Virginia, remain on stand by for assistance, McCarthy said.On Monday the Pentagon announced that 1,600 active duty troops were in the Washington region to be ready if called upon amid unrest over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.This story is breaking and will be updated
    Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former CIA officer Bryan Dean Wright both argued Thursday that the country “is on fire” and criticized Defense Secretary Mark Esper for his opposition to invoking the Insurrection Act to help deal with riots that have swept across the country. “If people like Mark Esper continue on this path, we will not like our military at all. We will be very afraid of them, and we don’t want to be,” Carlson warned viewers on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” after emphasizing the tradition of civilian control over the military. Esper announced Wednesday at a news conference that he did not support President Donald Trump’s desire to use the United States military if necessary to restore order after riots and looting erupted across the country in response to the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.  (RELATED: Defense Secretary Says...
    Fox News contributor Guy Benson said on Thursday that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper gave an honest assessment on President Trump potentially using the U.S. military to quell rioting, however, many Americans support the commander-in-chief on the issue. “A lot of Americans looking at their television screen for the last five or six nights are horrified by the violence in our streets, the burning of American cities and, at least one poll, [conducted by Morning Consult,] shows that a two-to-one margin are in favor of the idea [of deploying the military] if it becomes necessary,” Benson told "America's Newsroom." MSNBC's JOE SCARBOROUGH CALLS FOR DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER TO STEP DOWN OVER ST. JOHN'S CHURCH VISIT Benson said that while Esper, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and several others have criticized Trump for signaling that he could invoke the Insurrection Act in order to send the U.S. military to quell violent protests, a majority of Americans side...
    Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s job may be secure, at least for the time being, despite his press briefing Wednesday in which he pushed back against President Trump’s suggestion that the military be considered to quell violent protests following George Floyd's death. Two senior administration officials told Fox News that Trump was “frustrated” by Esper’s remarks, but that now is not the time to make any major changes. ESPER SAYS HE OPPOSES USING INSURRECTION ACT TO SEND MILITARY TO QUELL UNREST “Nobody wants a Cabinet-level shakeup with everything going on right now,” an official said. This partially echoed what White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday about Esper’s standing in the administration following his comments. "As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper and should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future," she said. Esper also distanced himself from an incident where protesters in Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Square were forcibly removed ahead...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s Pentagon chief shot down his idea of using troops to quell protests across the United States, then reversed course on pulling part of the 82nd Airborne Division off standby in an extraordinary clash between the U.S. military and its commander in chief. Both Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper also drew stinging, rare public criticism from Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, in the most public pushback of Trump’s presidency from the men he put at the helm of the world’s most powerful military. Mattis’ rebuke followed Trump’s threats to use the military to “dominate” the streets where Americans are demonstrating following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. The president had urged governors to call out the National Guard to contain protests that turned violent and...
    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark Esper has reversed course and decided not to return active-duty troops to their home bases after they were deployed near Washington for possible action in suppressing violent protests. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Wednesday afternoon that Esper changed his mind after a meeting at the White House. “It is our intent at this point not to bring in active forces, we don’t think we need them at this point,” McCarthy said. “But it’s prudent to have the reserve capability in the queue, on a short string.” Earlier Wednesday, Esper acted to return to their home bases some of about 1,300 active-duty troops deployed to outside Washington after protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police gave way to violent clashes, widespread property damage and looting. In a morning press conference, Esper declared his opposition to putting active-duty troops on...
    By ZEKE MILLER and ROBERT BURNS WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper declared on Wednesday he opposes using military troops for law enforcement in containing current street protests, tamping down threats from President Donald Trump, who had warned states he was willing to send soldiers to “dominate” their streets. Less than 48 hours after the president threatened to use the Insurrection Act to contain protests if governors were not able to get a handle on unrest, Esper said the 1807 law should be invoked in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He added, “We are not in one of those situations now.” Yet Esper abruptly overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, amid growing tensions with the White House over the military response to the protests. At Trump’s encouragement, Esper had ordered...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper is facing the most politically charged crisis of his tenure, criticized for calling protester-filled streets a military “battle space” and accused of failing to keep the military out of politics. At the same time, eleven months into the job, Esper is seeing his relationship with President Donald Trump tested by the storm over the police killing of George Floyd and Esper’s urging of caution in the use of military force. Esper, an Army veteran and former Army secretary, has sometimes subtly pushed back on Trump, including when the president intervened in the military justice system last year to pardon two soldiers accused of war crimes. But he has stayed closely aligned with the president’s national security policies and kept in his good graces. On Wednesday, Esper publicly distanced himself from Trump’s threats to use the full force of the military to quell...
    Washington — Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that he opposes invoking the centuries-old Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty troops to states to quell protests, directly contradicting President Trump, who threatened on Monday to send the military to states that are unable to "dominate the streets" in response to large demonstrations. "The option to use active-duty military should only be as a last resort. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act," Esper said in a press conference at the Pentagon. The law, originally signed by Thomas Jefferson in 1807, allows the president to send military troops to a state if requested by the state legislature or governor. A provision of the law enacted in 1956 also allows the president to unilaterally deploy troops and federalize state national guard units in certain cases, including to suppress a rebellion. A senior administration official told CBS News' Paula Reid that Esper's comments Wednesday morning...
    By ZEKE MILLER and ROBERT BURNS WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using military forces for law enforcement in containing current street protests, tamping down threats from President Donald Trump, who had warned states he was willing to send troops to “dominate” the streets. Less than 48 hours after the president threatened to use the Insurrection Act of 1807 to contain protests if governors were not able to get a handle on unrest, Esper said it should be invoked in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He declared, “We are not in one of those situations now.” Esper, at Trump’s encouragement, had already authorized the movement of about 1,300 active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation’s capital, but they have not entered the city — and defense officials said some of the troops were beginning to...
    By ZEKE MILLER, JONATHAN LEMIRE, MICHAEL BALSAMO and ROBERT BURNS WASHINGTON (AP) — Breaking with President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes using military forces for law enforcement in containing current street protests. Esper said the Insurrection Act, which would allow Trump to use active-duty military for law enforcement in containing street protests, should be invoked in the United States “only in the most urgent and dire of situations.” He declared, “We are not in one of those situations now.” Invoking the Insurrection Act has been discussed as Trump has talked about using the military to quell violent protests in U.S. cities. Esper has authorized the movement of several active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation’s capital, but they have not been called to action. Just before Esper spoke, Trump took credit for a massive deployment of National Guard troops and federal law...
    Defense Secretary Mark Esper declared Wednesday that despite President Trump's remarks earlier this week, he is not in favor of the president invoking the Insurrection Act in order to send the U.S. military to quell violent protests. During a morning press briefing, Esper addressed controversies surrounding Trump's stance on violence and looting that has broken out across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, coinciding with other peaceful protests. MSNBC's JOE SCARBOROUGH CALLS FOR DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER TO STEP DOWN OVER ST. JOHN'S CHURCH VISIT "The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations," Esper said. "We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act." In some states, governors have called for the National Guard to assist police, which does not require...
    WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday he opposes use of the Insurrection Act, which would allow President Donald Trump to use active-duty military forces for law enforcement duties in containing street protests.Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Esper said active-duty troops in a law enforcement role should be used in the United States "only in the most urgent and dire of situations," adding, "We are not in one of those situations now."Use of the Insurrection Act has been discussed as Trump has talked about using the military to quell violent protests in U.S. cities. Esper has authorized the movement of several active-duty Army units to military bases just outside the nation's capital, but they have not been called to action.In his Pentagon remarks, Esper strongly criticized the actions of the Minneapolis police, in whose custody George Floyd died after an officer held his knee to Floyd's neck for...
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